A Simple Model for Teaching Postmortem Monocular Indirect Ophthalmoscopy

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Although the ophthalmoscope was invented by Hermann von Helmholtz in 1851, pathologists until recently have relied almost exclusively on ocular enucleation to identify and describe postmortem fundal abnormalities. An inexpensive but valuable tool for forensic pathologists, the postmortem monocular indirect ophthalmoscope consists of a light source attached to a headband along with a hand-held lens. This permits a wide view of the fundus after death but the technique can be challenging to master for pathology residents and forensic pathology fellows. To facilitate skill acquisition in monocular indirect ophthalmoscopy, a simple and inexpensive teaching model can be constructed from hinged, cylindrical plastic containers. An artificial pupil created in the lid and a removable color fundal image placed in the bottom of the opaque container allows the pathologist-in-training to practice the technique of monocular indirect ophthalmoscopy and correctly identify, localize, and describe fundal abnormalities such as retinal hemorrhages.

Keywords: autopsy; child abuse; forensic science; postmortem monocular indirect ophthalmoscopy; retinal hemorrhages; teaching model

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1556-4029.2009.01030.x

Affiliations: Department of Pathology, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Medical Center Blvd., Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1072.

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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